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College hoops journeyman Matt Derenbecker found dead in pool

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Matt Derenbecker played his final season of college hoops last year with New Orleans. (USATSI)

News came down over the weekend that former LSU, Dayton and New Orleans basketball player Matt Derenbecker was found dead at a friend's house, in the home's swimming pool.

Derenbecker was 22. His father confirmed the death, and the school on Sunday released a statement. Derenbecker was named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the state of Louisiana when he was a junior and a senior. He was a coveted recruit in the South.

Before his death, Derenbecker was said to be house-sitting for a friend, but suspicions arose after he failed to meet his girlfriend for an airport pickup. The cause for his death has not yet been determined and/or publicly disclosed.

Derenbecker was most famously involved in a very scary play in January 2013, when he fouled Butler's Rotnei Clarke in a play that led to Clarke being taken off by stretcher.

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans:

"We're just trying to remember the good right now," said John Derenbecker, who added his son had been battling "demons" for some time.

...

"It's hard for sure, Matt's family and for Cory and his immediately family," UNO coach Mark Slessinger said. "It's a tough time. I'm glad we can be there to support both in any capacity we can. "Matt had a very special place in all our hearts. It'll be very difficult to fill. He had a very engaging personality and a great smile and an incredible sense of humor. I enjoyed every second I got to coach him. That's for sure."

Derenbecker had his best season of college hoops in 2013-14, when he averaged 10.5 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Privateers. That was until January, when he left the team due to medical reasons.

It has been a dark week for the New Orleans hoops program. From the story linked above: "Derenbecker's death was the second tragedy to hit the UNO men's basketball program during the weekend. Four members of former UNO forward Cory Dixon's family, including stepfather Michael Miller, 47, mother Leann Miller, 48, and siblings Zoey Miller, 12, and Miles Miller, 7, were killed in an auto accident on Friday night in New Mexico. The family was returning home to Dallas from vacation. UNO coach Mark Slessinger had gone to Dallas to be with Dixon when he heard the news of Derenbecker on Sunday."

Dixon graduated this past spring.

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